Editor’s note: The following is Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s nightly address to the nation as it appears in English on the presidential website:
Unbreakable people of the bravest country in the world!
Today the third month of our war for our independence began. Russian-Ukrainian war. The third month!
On February 24, most in the world did not even believe that we would withstand more than a week. Someone said – three days. A month ago, we still had to convince different countries that betting on Ukraine means winning. And now… Now everyone knows it.
Thanks to the courage, wisdom of our defenders, thanks to the courage of all Ukrainian men, all Ukrainian women our state is a real symbol of struggle for freedom. Everyone in the world – and even those who do not openly support us – agree that it is in Ukraine that the fate of Europe, the fate of global security, the fate of the democratic system is being decided. And above all, it is being decided what life in the center and east of our continent will be like and whether there will be life at all.
Bucha, Borodyanka, Hostomel, Okhtyrka, Chernihiv and Sumy, Izyum, Kharkiv, Volnovakha, Zolote, Severodonetsk, Rubizhne, Popasna and Mariupol… Missiles aimed at Odesa and Kramatorsk, Zhytomyr, Lviv, Kremenchuk and Kryvyi Rih… In all Ukraine’s cities and communities, Russia has shown what it really wants and can bring to Europe. What it can bring to Chișinău, Tbilisi, Helsinki, Vilnius, Warsaw, Prague, all the cities and countries that Russian state propagandists have long openly identified as alleged enemies for Moscow.
Russia has launched an offensive against Ukraine in many directions. Missile strikes, air raids, artillery, tanks – everything! Russian troops did not spare anything, any means to kill us, kill Ukrainians and destroy our land.
In two months, they used more than 1100 missiles against us. Countless bombs and artillery. They tortured, robbed, executed. They mined our land. Peaceful cities and villages were turned into hell. Some Ukrainian cities and communities were destroyed to the ground. But they did not achieve anything. And they will not achieve.
Kherson, Kakhovka, Melitopol, Dniprorudne, Enerhodar and our other cities where the Russian occupiers temporarily entered didn’t obey them. People showed with their protest their attitude towards the occupiers, showed that Ukraine will definitely win.
Russia wants to play a sham “referendum” somewhere on our land? Even if they try, it will be as shameful as everything else that was “created” in Moscow for the occupation of Ukraine.
Kharkiv region, Donetsk, Luhansk – the Russian military didn’t see even the slightest support they had hoped for anywhere. But they saw that it is a completely different state. They saw that there are completely different people here. People who are confident. Who believe in their state. Who know how to respect others because they respect themselves. Who do not want to capture someone else’s land, but will not give anything of their own. Who will protect every city, every street, every field.
In two months of hostilities 9 thousand 781 defenders of Ukraine were awarded state awards. The title of Hero of Ukraine was awarded to 142 of our defenders.
Ukrainian men and women have shown a truly massive readiness to defend Ukraine. At any age, any property status, with any education – Ukrainian men and women equally stood up for the state.
This war has truly become a people’s war for Ukraine. And it showed that throughout our territory – from east to west, from north to south – the Ukrainian idea is equally strong, equally national.
As of this time, 931 settlements have already been de-occupied. Many cities and communities are still under the temporary control of the Russian army.
But I have no doubt that it is only a matter of time before we liberate our land.
Russia can spend enormous resources to support the war. To oppose even the whole free world. It can take away from its people everything that could develop Russia itself, and direct this potential to destroy the lives of neighbors.
But the lessons of history are well known. If you are going to build a millennial Reich, you lose. If you are going to destroy the neighbors, you lose. If you want to restore the old empire, you lose. And if you go against the Ukrainians, you lose.
A global anti-war coalition was formed in two months. Sanctions have already been imposed on Russia, which have taken away its future. Ukraine receives assistance from dozens of countries. This is support in the form of weapons, finances, necessary goods, political support directly.
We are accelerating our movement to the European Union as much as possible. We have already passed a historic moment, an important stage – with the receipt and answering a special questionnaire, which was provided to each country before they acquired the status of a candidate for EU membership.
Even now, when the war is still going on, we are creating the necessary base for the reconstruction of Ukraine. These are international agreements of various levels, this is the creation of special funds for the reconstruction of our state.
Even now, when Russia is still trying to seize our territory, we are demonstrating that we will give free Ukraine more opportunities for development than Russia can give not only to the occupied part of our territory, but also to its own territory, its own state.
It is obvious that every day – and especially today, when the third month of our resistance has begun – everyone in Ukraine is concerned about peace. About when all this will be over. About when and what can be a victory for Ukraine.
There is and at the same time there is no simple answer to this question.
When we gain a victory, everyone will feel it. When peace comes, everyone will see it. But for this to happen – and happen faster – we need to think not about when and what it will be. We must think every day about how to make the stay of the occupiers on our land even more unbearable.
Ukraine is ready for peace. It was ready even when the war was going on in Donbas. It is ready even now, when the Russian invasion has become full-scale.
But for Russia to seek peace, every Ukrainian must still fight. They must defend freedom. Because every day of struggle now adds years of peaceful life after this war. After our victory.
As always, before delivering the address, I signed decrees awarding our heroes. 269 servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and 9 servicemen of the Main Intelligence Directorate were awarded state awards.
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